Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Adventures in Aviation, Part Trois
We got to have a one-on-one chat, student and instructor. I explained to him my outlook on flying and the reasons why I want to learn how to fly (if I’m going to be in a plane, I want to make sure everyone’s safe and I’m being useful). He nodded his head and made agreeing noises. I didn’t really feel like we were “connecting”, but who I am to say. When I felt like I had used up my rambling quota, and I could start to tell the conversation was getting off track (we started talking about house boating on Lake Powell), I decided to shut my yapper and let him talk. He explained that he’s a very strict instructor. He doesn’t let anybody get off without convincing him that they really know what they’re doing. Even that veteran pilot who needed a quick sign off; 1 or 2 turned into 20 landings before Mr. Instructor was satisfied.
Now don’t get me wrong, I want an instructor that’s going to be a drill sergeant. I’m weird like that. If you’re going to do something, best to do it right. But the part that got me a little worried, was when he explained that he’s been in 3-4 near mid-air collisions (despite using the radios) and his belief that 90% of the people that do get their pilot’s license shouldn’t actually have it (because they’re not competent pilots). Up until that point, I saw the sky as a relatively safe and inviting environment and the challenge of learning how to fly doable. Now they sky was a deadly traffic way where my flying skills would never be sufficient. I’m sure he was just trying to scare me to make sure I don’t take my responsibilities lightly, but dude, couldn’t you just level with me? I’m a responsible person. I don’t have any grand illusions about the wonder of flight. Remember? I want to get from A to B fast and safe. That’s it.
So I was a tad bit discouraged when Mr. Instructor and I finished our nice little chat. I conveyed this to Wes, and also the part about how Wes shouldn’t be teaching me any maneuvers because he’ll end up teaching me incorrectly. Wes, undaunted, took this as a challenge. We were going to get in that plane and do some damn maneuvers. What was that guy talking about? He knows how to teach basic maneuvers correctly; there really isn’t a way to teach them incorrectly. Sheesh.
All in all I really enjoy learning how to fly. Saturday was my best experience yet. But I think the next time I get into a plane it needs to drop me off in Tahiti. I guarantee that just one day on a Tahitian beach will cure all my flying ills.